Ogre Tale is a side-scrolling beat-em-up by Japanese developer MAGES that flips the legend of Momotarou on its head. Instead of playing as the “Peach Boy” himself, players instead take the role of three demons that are the descendants of the very demons Momotarou defeated in the Feudal Era. Taking place in modern day Japan, Ogre Tale gives an already interesting take on this legend an entirely new playground to mess around in.
Ogre Tale is fun, if not simplistic. While players can get skills by completing missions or purchasing them through the in-game shop, once it becomes available, you can only assign so many skills or stones to your weapon, depending on which one you’re using. Weapon variety is pretty scarce outside of upgraded versions of the weapon assigned to each character. For example, I played as Ran for most of my playthrough, which meant I was relegated to using a katana and kunai at any and all times.
Thankfully, you can switch characters between missions at the hub, so if you get bored of one character’s skill set, you can swap to another with ease. And honestly, each character is pretty fun to use. Ran, Yume, and Hana all bring their own unique playstyles to the table. Once the game opens up, it allows you to use Ultimate skills that are assigned to different directional inputs.
Currency is fairly easy to get if you do Side Missions when they pop up in Ogre Tale. After around an hour in, I had more than enough currency to buy the best weapon in the shop and whatever talismans and stones I wanted. However, you aren’t required to purchase anything from the shop if you’re lucky, since I ended up getting an extremely powerful, high-tier weapon from one of the Sub Missions almost immediately. This is the same for talismans as well. As I mentioned prior, these grant you skills you can assign to your weapons. Skills can only be slotted into weapons once and cannot be overwritten, so that’s something I had to pay attention to while building my character.
But even on normal difficulty, Ogre Tale was easy enough to speed through without worrying about managing my skill slots or the passives given to me by equipping stones into my weapon. Those that want more of a challenge out of it, you will definitely want to play on a higher difficulty, as normal might not cut it for you. It should be mentioned that you select the difficulty for each level individually. So if you want to immediately play a mission on a harder difficulty or go back and play and replay a mission, that’s totally possible without starting a new game. However, the normal difficulty is a great place to start if you’re new to beat-em-ups and want something to immediately jump into.
Visually, Ogre Tale is absolutely stunning for a side-scrolling pixelated game. The environments have an incredible amount of detail and the character designs are really well done and extremely cute. Boss sprites are memorable and were my favorite part of the overall aesthetic of the game. At first the stages tend to repeat themselves as you go through the motions of getting through the tutorial. However, once you’re past that initial hurdle, you’re quickly treated to new maps with more detailed scenery and new enemy sprites.
Missions are prefaced with a bit of flavor text to let the player know what is currently going on in the story or give them some direction as to what they will need to do in order to complete the latest task. For the most part, these challenges are fairly uncomplicated, straightforward, and short. These bite-sized bits of gameplay are great for quick, short sessions. Additionally, if you don’t want to play the game by yourself, co-op does open itself up through main story progression. This feature is accessible through online play, and couch co-op is accessible through Steam’s built-in system.
Unfortunately, Ogre Tale does not support keyboard controls as effectively as a PC release should. None of the prompts in the game properly reflect which buttons you should be using to select anything, and it is up to the player to guess which button is assigned to what. On that basis alone, I can’t really recommend picking up this game on PC.
Ogre Tale is a great side scrolling beat-em-up, especially for those looking to play something with incredible visual charm and style. With a charming story and cute character designs, along with full Japanese voice acting, this will be a must for those who enjoyed titles like Murasama: The Demon Blade. However, the systems in the game may be more limited than most players would like and it is hindered by the lack of proper PC controls.
Ogre Tale is currently available on PCs and will come to Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One at a later date.